Support and development of State Brewers Guilds remains a major focus of the Brewers Association in 2012. The addition of Acacia Coast, the Brewers Association's State Brewers Association Coordinator has helped the BA become more of a resource for existing and fledgling guilds. Acacia has been busy crisscrossing the country attending state brewers association meetings with many of them centered on initial guild formation.
Recently, Acacia provided an update on the Alaska Guild.
January 21, 2012
Historically held once a year, the Brewers Guild of Alaska hosted their annual meeting January 2st, alongside Alaska Beer Week and the Great Alaska Big Beers Festival. The meeting started at 9 am on Saturday morning, after a Friday night festival session, a week’s worth of celebrations, and just prior to the Saturday afternoon festival sessions of the GABBF. Despite the hour, everyone was on time, and there was a great turn out for the meeting.
Jim Roberts, aka Dr. Fermento, is the acting president of the guild, with Silver Gulch Brewing Company president and brewmaster, Glenn Brady, as the VP. The agenda covered much going on with legislation and regulation, in addition to promotional pieces and membership discussions.
Membership is strong in Alaska; almost every brewer’s notice holder is a member of the guild. In the past, they started an Alaska beer trail map, in order to help boost membership and to increase awareness of the impact of craft beer in Alaska. They’re going to finalize the map, adding any new brewery members and sending it to print for distribution this spring. Each brewery will then take a stack to their local tourism association offices, hotels, airports, and other local establishments.
In addition to meeting quarterly, instead of annually, the guild has formed a Government Affairs committee to help move the guild’s legislative goals forward. This new committee will be meeting monthly and most members are within an hour or so of Anchorage. As always, with any association, it’s a challenge to find common ground. With a smaller group, fewer “chefs in the kitchen”, they’ll be able to more quickly find that unified voice to bring forward to membership for approval. They’ll be working on an economic impact statement, a formal position statement on SB 128, and sending a letter of support to the ABC Board, encouraging the shift from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Commerce.
While I was in Anchorage, it was never above 5 degrees F, and often dipping down to -20F at night. The roads and sidewalks were solid ice, the trees had a beautiful frost on every branch. Everyone strongly reminded me that the temps were abnormal, but Alaska truly lived up to its frigid reputation in my mind! The craft beer community, however, is truly a family, always warm and welcoming with big burly bear hugs and delicious beers.
With more regular meetings and an active GAC committee, the guild is well on its way to becoming more proactive; their impact will be much more evident moving forward. I’ll continue to work with Jim and the guild in developing their resources and opening up more frequent communication. I had a most wonderful visit to Anchorage. My utmost gratitude goes out to Jim, his wife Debbie, and the Alaska craft brewers for being such generous hosts, and offering such warm hospitality.